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Looking for a music college

markjohanmarkjohan Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
edited November 2012 in Music Major
Hi, I have been playing the piano for 4 years at a high school music academy. Practicing lots of hours a week reaching level 6 out of 7 levels playing pieces like Pavane by Maurice Ravel, and Scherzo Op.16 No.2 by Felix Hendelssohn. I have also taken AP music theory where I got a 4 out of 5 on the test, and I'm composing my own pieces. I was wondering if there are any colleges out there interested in musicians like me and if so. Which one's?
I'm mostly interested in composing and improving my technique on the piano.
Post edited by markjohan on

Replies to: Looking for a music college

  • BartokrulesBartokrules Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    I am assuming you are a senior since you have spent 4 years in a high school music program. The application deadlines for many music schools are December 1st. Some schools deadlines have already past. You have to decide the environment in which you wish to learn. Big university SOM, LAC, etc. You must also decide whether you want to seek a BM or a BA degree in music. For composition for the BM degree you will most likely have to submit a portfolio of pieces. A little more information will help the folks here give you direction.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,367 Senior Member
    By music academy, do you mean something you do outside of high school? Or do you attend a high school that is focused on music? Do you have a piano and/or composition teacher either in or out of school? What kind of music do you compose? Is it mainly for piano, that you play yourself?

    By all means tell us about yourself. To expand a little on Bartokrules' post, there are many choices for students interested in studying music.

    You can get a Bachelor's of Music in which most of your courses are in music, theory, music history etc. and could either major in piano or composition, or sometimes both. BM's are offered at conservatories/music schools, including freestanding ones (Julliard, New England Conservatory, Manhattan, as Northeast examples) and those that are part of universities/colleges, which could mean a state university or a small liberal arts school like Oberlin, Lawrence or Bard.

    You can also get a Bachelor of Arts in Music in which you spend less time in music classes than a BM and take classes in other areas, sometimes required distribution requirements. For composition, this can work out well. For piano, you could study privately, practice, and perform with college ensembles. BA's are rarely performance degrees, though there are exceptions, and some BA music classes will include some playing.

    As Bartokrules said, for BM applications, the deadline is often early. Many have December 1st, but some are later. Often there is a prescreening. For piano, you would send in samples of your playing and then audition (others can be more informative on this). For composition, you need a portfolio of 3-4 works on CD's with scores, and at least some should be played and not on MIDI. The you go for an interview, do a theory exam, and maybe do a few other things as your "audition."

    For BA applicants, you apply to the school like anyone else, tell them on the application about your music experience and goals,and then you can send in CD's of your playing or of your compositions, as a supplement. Letters from teachers can also help. Even programs of concerts you have been in.

    So, now that I have overwhelmed you with information, I will also add another option, which is to look at schools such as Sarah Lawrence, Bennington, maybe Vassar, where you can study music in an individually designed plan, with a lot of support and resources offered by faculty.

    Hope this helps. If you are at a high school for the arts, you must have a guidance counselor who can help, but if you are at a regular high school, often the guidance folks don't know that much about where to study music.

    Come back here with more questions and more info about yourself, and people here will be glad to help more.
  • imagepimagep Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    Please pay special attention to compmom's second to last paragraph.

    The "guidance folks" at my son's high school were totally lost when it came to music majors, and even some other majors. They "advised" him that he should attend our local community college for two years in their "University Bridge Program" - which they are pushing just because it is much cheaper than most 4 year colleges. If he had done that, he would have been two years behind as a music major though, which would have of course defeated the purpose of attending a community college.

    That said, there are a few community colleges that do offer music programs, but the one near us wasn't one of them.
  • OCMusicMomOCMusicMom Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    If you are a senior and are hoping to be a composition major, you will need to spend the next couple of weeks to get your materials together for your applications. As was mentioned, you will need to submit a number of scores and recordings of your pieces. Most of the schools have online portals for these submissions, while others require that they be mailed. In general, we have found that schools offering a BA rather than a BM require less up front. Therefore, if you are looking at BM programs, I highly encourage you to enlist your music instructor, mentor, or parents to help you organize all of the required submission materials. It can be quite a lot (one school required my son to list every piece of music he has played in high school, a daunting task since he plays in 3 bands). Make yourself a spread sheet of all of the requirements to help keep your information in order and to save yourself from having to repeat something, i.e., for schools needing printed scores, printing both at the same time rather than having to make a second trip to the copy store. This is all doable, but you will need to start now.

    And, if you are a junior, you will have the next year to pull all of your materials together, write your essays, visit schools and explore your options.

    As for schools, there most certainly will be a school that will want your talents. Perhaps if you give us an idea of where you would like to live, what kind of environment you seek, or any other criteria important to you, the good folks here will have some suggestions for you to help you narrow your options. Be sure to consider both your reach schools and your safety schools, such as local state schools, many of which have good programs.
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